The legalization of medical marijuana has gained traction over the years with 29 states adopting legislation, however, there’s still a bad stigma associated with the treatment. Although medical marijuana has been incredibly difficult to study in the past, recent studies and clinical trials are showing optimistic results.
Researchers have found two of at least 113 active cannabinoids in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), have proven beneficial for certain patients.
THC is the psychoactive component in cannabis that makes people feel “high”. This cannabinoid can increase appetite and reduce nausea to treat anorexia, HIV/AIDS, and people undergoing chemotherapy. It has also been found to decrease pain, inflammation and muscle control problems.
CBD is one of the most prevalent compounds in the cannabis plant and doesn’t have any intoxicating effects. Aside from reducing pain and inflammation, CBD can treat anxiety and psychoactive qualities, which has proven beneficial for schizophrenia patients. Clinical trials also show that CBD plays a key role in treating epilepsy. British pharmaceutical company, GW Pharmaceuticals, has successfully developed a pure CBD medication for forms of epilepsy that are difficult to treat, such as Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.
The FDA has yet to approve the cannabis plant for medical use, requiring clinical trials in hundreds of thousands of people to determine the benefits and risks. As beneficial as medical marijuana can be there are negative effects of abusing marijuana, such as dependency, memory loss and emotional imbalance.